Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson looks at NFC East players on the verge of a breakout in 2011.
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy took tremendous steps from his rookie season to his second year. In fact, he might already be a star. But now, I expect him to take yet another monumental step forward and take his place among the best running backs in the game today. He has that kind of ability and is in an excellent situation to reach his vast potential.
Early in his career, McCoy used his extreme elusiveness to try to break long runs on every carry. But in his second season, McCoy learned the NFL game. He learned that there might not be a big play in the cards on every touch. Instead, he used his underrated and developing power and excellent leverage to get what was there and to live to fight another day. In this league, second-and-8 isn’t the end of the world, but second-and-12 is awfully tough to overcome.
It didn’t get discussed a lot, but the Eagles’ run blocking was quite good in 2010, and having Michael Vick in the backfield with him was extremely beneficial for McCoy as well. But McCoy took advantage of the situation and played at a Pro Bowl level, adding over a yard per carry to his rushing average.
I expect that development to continue as this young man matures, gets stronger and further enhances his skills in the passing game -- which could be extensive with more work. Don’t forget, he is only 22 years old. McCoy’s route running, ball skills and especially his pass protection all took major leaps forward last season, and he caught 38 more passes than he did as a rookie. Next year, with just a little more development in all areas, few running backs will be on par with McCoy.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.